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HP Mini 311

Author(s)

J. McDonald

Introduction

The HP Mini 311 is the first netbook in the U.S. equipped with Nvidia's GeForce 9400M (MCP79) chipset. In the case of the Mini 311, this is the nVidia Ion LE GPU chipset without DirectX 10 support.

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Specifications

NameHP Mini 311-1000
ProcessorIntel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N280 @ 1.66GHz
ChipsetMCP79
Screen11.6“, 29.5 cm, 1366×768 pixels
RAM1GB + empty slot for up to 2GB additional DDR3 1066hz PC3 SODIMM RAM
HDD160 GB (nominal) 149 GB (actual formatted) SATA
Optical DriveHP LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer (external USB 2.0)
GraphicsnVidia 9400M Ion LE
NetworkRealtek10/100 Ethernet, Broadcomm 4322AGN 802.11abgn Wifi-Bluetooth combo-card

Linux Distribution

Ubuntu Linux 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope”Comments: 32-bit i386 Live CD/GUI installation
Linux Kernel Version2.6.28-15-generic #52-Ubuntu SMP Wed Sep 9 10:49:34 UTC 2009 i686 GNU/Linux

Linux Compatibility

DeviceCompatibilityComments
ProcessorYes
ScreenYes
HDDYesCould not partition the HDD from the Jaunty Alternate (non-GUI) Installation CD - No major issues with standard 32-bit i386 live-CD installation partioning the drive and setting up GRUB for dual boot with XP
Optical DriveYesIf installing from a CD in the external optical media drive, booting from the CD must be enabled by pressing “esc” immediately after start and choosing “f9 - boot device options”. The external drive should show up in the boot device list if it is plugged into the USB port prior to boot.
GraphicsYesOpen source drivers work for 2D. Proprietary nVidia accelerated graphics driver (version 180) works. Compiz and GLX work.
Video OutNot testedEquipped with HDMI and VGA out connectors - video out not yet tested in Linux
SoundPartialSound card was not properly ID'd during the install. Sound initially only worked through the headphone jack - no sound was sent to the laptop speakers. Sound was fixed by upgrading Alsa to version 1.0.21 <http://monespaceperso.org/blog-en/2009/08/31/upgrade-alsa-1-0-21-on-ubuntu-jaunty-9-04/>
EthernetYes
WirelessNoBroadcomm wireless 4322AGN 802.11abgn card was not ID'd during the install. Wireless was fixed by enabling the jaunty-backports repository and installing the linux-backports-modules-jaunty package and the linux-restricted-modules package. The Broadcomm card was then ID'd and a proprietary driver was installed. The card works reliably in WICD. Connections seem slower and less reliable in Netmanager
BluetoothYes
56K ModemNone
USBYes
FirewireNone
Card ReaderYesTested with 8GB SDHC - no issues
ExpressCard SlotNone
CameraYesTested in Skype - some stutter and dropped frames noticed on the receiving end
Suspend/Resume/HibernateNoSuspend can be initiated by closing the lid or or the HP fn+f2 hotkey, but gives a “btusb_bulk_complete failed to resubmit” message and immediately resumes. Similar issues occured with hibernate. Suspend does not appear to be successfully powering down bluetooth and this appears to trigger resume. A temporary workaround was found by using the the hardware switch on the HP Mini 311 to shut down wifi and bluetooth prior to suspending. This allows a successful suspend operation. Resume occurs normally upon opening the screen and the wifi/bluetooth hardware can then be turned on using the harware switch either during the resume or after authenticating.

Notes

The GPU still uses shared RAM. Using “extra” visual effects can quickly result in 40 - 50% RAM usage. The standard configurations of the HP Mini 311 shipping to the U.S. have an empty SODIMM slot available for additional RAM. Anyone purchasing this netbook with the intention of doing fairly graphically intensive operations should consider upgrading the RAM.

Summary

The computer is in daily use with Ubuntu 9.04. I have not booted into XP since coming up with a workable solution for suspend resume. The suspend/resume issue seems to be shared with other HP/Compaq and Dell notebook and netbook computers. Hopefully this will be solved in upcoming Ubuntu releases. I am only getting 4-5 hours of battery life - perhaps the price to pay for the improved graphics performance.

Update: Suspend/resume has been fixed in Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala”. The Broadcomm proprietary driver does not support “N” speeds in either Jaunty or Karmic.

2nd update: I have now proceeded through an additional version upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. Suspend/resume work fine. Trackpad is not recognized by Synaptics but basic support is there (movement, edge scroll, tap-click) via the PS/2 driver. Hopefully this will eventually get fixed in Synaptics since the more advanced Synaptics trackpad configuration features aren't available for now. This was apparently the case since my original Ubuntu 9.04 load - I just didn't notice it since I had basic trackpad functionality. Ubuntu LTS on the Mini 311 is now my primary computer for business travel.


Discussion

Sean, 2013/01/29 01:45

I have just intsalled Debain squeeze on my mini 311 and I've noticed that the fan is always running (even with the BIOS setting for fan always on disabled) and the laptop runs at a high temperature even when idle. I figured it might be a problem with the graphics card driver, but the driver I tried to install didn't work correctly. Which driver did you install for the nvidia card in this netbook? Can you think of any other reasons why this netbook would be running so hot?

nevdull, 2011/11/24 01:26

installed xubuntu 11.10 (oneiric) via usb, tonite. had to upgrade the system bios to f16, in order to properly boot from usb. during install the wireless adapter was detected and able to be used for updates. camera was also detected during install and a snapshot was taken to be used for the logon session manager. this old mini is getting new life!

Joe M., 2010/01/19 00:28

Ken - I really haven't had any real issues with either wireless or suspend/resume in Karmic. I got to Karmic via a different route. I installed Jaunty without any issues other than those listed above and then worked out the issues by carefully searching and going through various Linux, Debian and Ubuntu user forums. I then upgraded to Karmic once it became available. I've been using Karmic on the Mini 311 since about a week prior to Karma's public release without any issue other than suspend/resume. I still had initial issues with suspend/resume in Karmic similar to those noted with Jaunty, but this was fixed in an update to Karmic that occurred about 2-3 weeks after it was initially released. I found the user forums to be an invaluable resource, especially for a novice user like me. The Broadcomm drivers certainly need work. I still cannot connect faster than 54 Mbps even though I sprung for the 802.11n wireless. I also sometimes need to drop to the command line to check the connection speed on the first connection after reboot and to (sometimes) manually bump the speed up back up.

Joe

Ken, 2009/12/04 21:38

I installed Karmic on this with much consternation. Wifi does not work even after blacklisting the supplied drivers and installing the STA wls drivers. (seems Broadcomm has not updated their crypto to match that of Karmic). I've submitted a bug report on this. Also suspend does not work at all. Fortunately, I have a Belkin usb wifi stick that I plugged in and it happened to work perfectly. This will have to do until they update the driver. My biggest concern is getting the suspend to work. Any thoughts?

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hp_mini_311-1000_series.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/11 14:02 (external edit)
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